Gary Coker

Gary Coker

UX and Product Design Leader

Creative Leader with 20+ years of Director- and VP-level experience

About Me

I've built my career in UX and product design leadership on the following core practices:

  1. Draw on my extensive UX knowledge and experience to create a user-centered vision and strategy that also helps the company achieve their business goals,

  2. Effectively collaborate cross-functionally with product/business, engineering, and other stakeholders on a daily basis,

  3. Implement a UX process that is tailored to the team(s) and company, is repeatable and scalable, and integrates smoothly with other teams' practices, and

  4. Hire UXers that are user-focused, with good understanding of UX fundamentals, then put them into position to do their best work by championing UX in the organization, cultivating shared vision, being a servant leader, and mentoring them in best practices for craft, process, collaboration, creativity, and innovation, so they can advance in their careers.

Read on to learn more about what I can bring to your organization to help you 10x your UX!

Diverse Experience

  • 20+ years of Director- and VP-level experience in UX and product design across enterprise, B2B, and B2C / DTC products.

  • Experience in a variety of industries, including: e-commerce, healthcare, pharma, cybersecurity, education, telecom, marketing, dev tools, CRM, publishing, CMS, human factors research, government, and more.

  • Success in diverse technical and business environments, from start-ups to large enterprises.

  • Global experience working both onsite and virtually with staff and clients around the world, including in Europe, Asia, South America, and Australia.

Team Leadership

  • 20+ years of experience hiring and managing cross-functional UX and Product Development teams of all sizes.

  • I enjoy working as a "player-coach" leader, using my many years of UX experience to mentor UXers and other product development professionals.

  • I'm a servant leader, focusing on giving my team members what they need to do their best work. I place great value on facilitating the growth of team members in their specific disciplines but also in helping them develop an understanding of business needs and constraints, teaching them the best ways to present their work and collaborate with stakeholders in various domains, and cultivating true empathy for users.

Scalable, Repeatable Design Processes

I've successfully implemented modern, repeatable, full life-cycle design processes for both small and large product teams.

  • 13+ years of experience in integrating design processes into Lean and Agile development methodologies, including SCRUM and Kanban.

  • I've used all the major tools for managing the process, including Jira, Confluence, MS Teams, Github, Gitlab, and more.

  • I've lead product teams in the design and development of many SaaS/web and mobile apps, from conception and design to development, launch, and operations.

  • I excel at presenting research and ideas in a way that is understandable, persuasive, and engaging for the full range of stakeholders, including the C-suite.

User Research and Design Thinking

  • Vast experience in user research and building a design thinking culture within organizations.

  • I've conducted and analyzed hundreds of user interviews, field studies (ethnography), journey mapping activities, usability tests, quantitative (analytics) data, and design sprints.

  • Highly collaborative and communicative with all stakeholders, from users to product managers to engineers to marketing to executives.

I'm trained and experienced in facilitating Design Sprints, as developed by Jake Knapp at Google Ventures. I've found them to be instrumental in exploring ideas quickly, enhancing stakeholder buy-in, improving agility, and cultivating a Design Thinking culture. Learn more about my experience with Design Thinking and Design Sprints.

Hands-on Skills

I'm a hands-on leader and coach / mentor, with extensive experience in:

  • user research

  • information architecture

  • visual design

  • interaction design

  • workflow design

  • usability testing

  • collaboration and presentations

I use modern design and prototyping tools such as:

  • Figma

  • Sketch

  • InVision

  • Zeplin

  • Miro

  • Balsamiq Wireframes

  • Adobe XD & CC

  • and more

Modern Design Techniques & Architectures

I'm highly experienced in modern UX techniques and architectures for desktop browsers, tablets, and smartphones, plus native apps for mobile, including:

  • Responsive Design

  • Mobile First Design

  • Design Systems & Web Components

  • Native Mobile App Design

  • Design Sprints

  • Inclusive Design and Accessibility (a11y, WCAG)

  • Single Page Apps (SPAs)

  • UI frameworks like Vue.js, Angular, etc.

  • Micro front-ends architecture,

  • and more

Creative and Technical

  • B.S. in Computer Science. My "superpower" is having a unique understanding of the needs & concerns of both designers and engineers / developers.

  • Awarded a U.S. Patent for the design of a risk analysis method and system.

  • Certified in the Scaled Agile Framework  (SAFe), for both the Agilist and Product Manager / Product Owner disciplines.

  • Extensive background in human factors, having worked 8+ years with Ph.D. psychologists studying human factors and cognitive psychology in virtual reality flight simulation.

  • Completed dozens of UX classes from instructors such as Luke Wroblewski, Jakob Nielsen, Bruce Tognazzini, Don Norman (Nielsen Norman Group), Alan Cooper, Josh Clark, and many other expert UX practitioners.